Blackstone, a leading global investment business, invests $250 million to acquire a majority stake (over 60%) in the top online digital skilling platform Simplilearn.
The online upskilling app provides rigorous digital training in disciples such as Cyber Security, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Digital Marketing among others.
According to various sources, this marks the former's first private equity investment in Asia in a consumer technology company.
Started by entrepreneur Krishna Kumar in 2010, Simplilearn is based in San Francisco, United States and Bengaluru, India. The online digital skilling platform is backed by Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners and Mayfield Fund.
Commenting on the new development, Krishna Kumar, Founder, Simplilearn said,
"The pandemic has only accelerated the need for digital skills and the industry has demonstrated absolute readiness for upskilling ones. Hence, this is the most opportune time to take the next big leap in our journey to build the world’s largest digital skilling company."
Kumar further added in his comment,
"We are very excited to partner with Blackstone, a globally recognised investor with a strong track record in the edtech sector. We believe Blackstone can add significant value to our company because of its scale, commitment to building businesses, and global network, which will enable us to develop partnerships with businesses and universities as Simplilearn continues to expand around the world."
"We would also like to thank our previous investors, Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners, and Mayfield Fund for their undaunted support and trust in our journey of becoming a market leader,” he said.
The platform provides courses in partnership with top global universities like MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, Caltech CTME, Purdue Online, IIT Kanpur and companies such as IBM, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.
Blackstone, which has acquired its name in education technology, is also an investor in edtech player Aakash Educational Services (part of BYJU'S now) - India's largest, digitally-enabled education firm. It has also marked its name in US-based Ascend learning that offers technology-based educational, informative content and software tools for students, institutions and employers.
At the beginning of the year, edtech platform Simplilearn was in talks to raise $100-150 million in a funding round from global investors for business expansion.
The company had also earned more than 60% of its revenue from international markets since the Covid-19 pandemic started last year. In addition to its primary markets of India and the US, the company witnessed strong demand from Europe, South Africa, UK, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Online delivery startups like Myntra, Swiggy and Flipkart use Simplilearn to train their employees. The platform also launched a free learning programme - SkillsUp that has been designed to provide courses and learning materials for individuals to get started with their career amid this competitive environment.